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Good News for the Tsongas

God sent His Son Jesus Christ, to give His life and shed His bled for the payment of sin and to redeem mankind for the glory of God. This is good news for all people! This post is about how the Good News is transforming lives among the Tsonga people in Africa.

Paul Schlehlein with the Tsonga Elderly

The Tsongas are a Bantu ethnic group primarily native to Southern Mozambique and South Africa. Today over 4 million live in Mozambique and nearly 3.5 million live in South Africa. Their root worldview is animism but in recent years it is the prosperity gospel that has done the most damage in hindering people from entering at the "narrow gate." The prosperity gospel has deceived millions giving them a false hope of salvation but has led them to destruction instead.

While in their twenties, missionaries Seth & Amy Meyers and Paul & Melinda Schlehlein embraced Jesus' Great Commission and committed themselves to live among the Tsongas in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. They love the Tsonga people and have given their lives to know them and to share Christ with them.

The Meyers Family

They chose two nearby villages (Elim & Mbhokota) and each built their own house in that village. For over 15 years, they have lived and raised their families among the Tsonga, striving to glorify Christ in their words and deeds. Their missionary partnership has provided vital fellowship, encouragement, collaboration, and support for each other to endure many trials and difficulties.

A Tsonga Village Setting

The gave themselves to the grueling work of mastering the Tsonga language and worldview. They plodded along the dusty roads meeting with people in their homes. Their early efforts built relationships, which led to Bible studies, which in time led to planting the Elim Baptist and Trinity Baptist churches.

The Trinity Baptist Church in Mbhokota

They founded a small Bible college to train and mentor young men for the ministry, some of whom have planted village churches in neighboring Zimbabwe. Through the power and leading of the Holy Spirit the Gospel has advanced among the Tsongas. The map below shows where four Gospel-preaching churches and six preaching points have been established in Limpopo Province.

Paul and Seth are currently ministering in 11 different villages with at least 150 adults and scores of young people who return each week. They have given away 170 Tsonga Bibles for those who attend for 10 weeks. Their hope is that their preaching across the many villages will serve as a dragnet having taken in both good and bad will allow the good fish to form a happy hatchery.

A Village Preaching Point

They will often ask the Tsongas to stand and tell what God has done for their souls (Ps. 66:16). Once a 72-year-old man named Scotch Vukeya said before I preached, “I read my Bible seven days this week. Now I am understanding the Bible, and I want to read it every day. I don’t feel satisfied unless I have the Bible. This is different from how I was before I heard the preaching.”

Another woman who has been faithful for 6 months or more said something similar. For the first time in her life, she has been reading a Bible. Over and over, she is trying to understand 1 Timothy. That was her book of choice because we have begun studying verse-by-verse through it at each of the preaching points once they pass 10 or 12 weeks.

A Tsonga Village Church Plant

These are not the only testimonies of the Holy Spirit's work. By grace, the Meyers and Schlehleins hope to see these infantile Bible-hunger testimonies mature by degrees into Christ-loving testimonies.

Missionary Seth Meyers Preaching the Good News to the Tsongas

Pray for the Tsongas:

  1. Pray that preaching points can be established in other Tsonga villages and that those people will come and listen well.

  2. Pray that both adults and children would have their eyes opened.

  3. Pray that they would gladly testify what God has done for their souls.

  4. Pray that they would be willing to be immersed, to sign a church covenant, and to form themselves into local church bodies in each place.

  5. Pray for Tsonga Christian men to grow in Christ, to be goldy, and to serve as church leaders.

  6. Pray for the Meyers and Schlehleins for God's protection from wicked and unreasonable men, for God to open new doors for Gospel advancement, and to bless their efforts with lasting fruit for His glory!

Edited by Dave - ODBM Director

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